Back in November 2017, during the annual EICMA Show held at Milan in Italy, Honda had announced a couple of new, Model Year 2018  motorcycles for the global market. Among the new bikes announced then are the CB125R, CB300R (but not the Honda CB250R) and CB1000R, where Honda said they are part of its Neo Sports Café Racer line-up. However, there’s one catch – while it’s no secret that the 300cc category has replaced the 250cc segment in most of Honda’s market around the world, it left me wondering if Malaysians will get to see the CB300R being sold here.

However, the following month, Honda Motor Co., Ltd had confirmed there would indeed be a Honda CB250R being made available for certain markets, among them are Japan’s domestic segment as well as for Malaysia and Indonesia. The Honda CB250R was launched in Malaysia together with its bigger sibling, the CB1000R by Boon Siew Honda (BSH) in June 2018.

Both the Honda CB250R and CB300R are similar in every way and looks, with the differences between them being the higher engine capacity and horsepower for the latter. The CB250R is claimed to deliver 27hp with its 249cc single cylinder engine while the CB300R comes with an increase displacement of 286cc and 32hp. And for the rear tyres, the CB250R uses size 140/70-17-inch while the CB300R utilized the slightly larger 150/60-17-inch rubber. Both bikes are fitted with Dunlop’s GPR-300 tyres that are manufactured in Japan. The CB250R is also lighter than its 300cc sibling, with a dry weight of only 148 kg vs. 155 kg for the latter.

If you’ve ever ridden the CBR250R, CRF250L and CRF250L Rally, all of which use the same 249cc engine, then you will know that this powerplant is well known for its smooth performance despite being a single-cylinder. The engine used in the CB250R was developed by Honda as a global single-cylinder engine that transcends regions, while being sporty and eco-friendly at the same time, in order to entice the next generation of riders.

A DOHC design was chosen by Honda as the valve system for the engine. As the DOHC design improves combustion efficiency by reducing the weight of the reciprocating portion of the valves, allowing the Japanese manufacturer to freely choose the included valve angle, the port shape, and the shape of the combustion chamber to maximize engine performance. For the valve system, a roller rocker arm was adopted by a DOHC engine motorcycle for the first time in the world. A low-friction valve train with a smaller cylinder head was achieved through an ultra-compact layout for the roller rocker arm. The choice of a shim design for valve tappet adjustment reduced the rocker arm weight, while friction was reduced by setting the valve spring load to a low level. For better maintainability, the shim can be replaced without removing the camshaft.

To reduce blow-by fuel and lubricant consumption, a spiny sleeve was adopted for the cylinder sleeve. Small spines have been added to the outer surface to improve cooling performance and help reduce distortion of the inner cylinder’s shape. In addition, centrifugal casting allowed a thin, uniform wall thickness, which aids weight reduction. For emission measures, an O² sensor is combined with the built-in air induction (AI) system and a catalyzer is fitted inside the exhaust pipe to comply with Euro emission regulation. The power unit complies with other environmental regulations such as Thailand’s sixth emission standards, for which the evaporator system (evaporative emission control system) was put in place for the Thai model.

For the speedometer, Honda uses a thin (23.5mm) lightweight full function LCD instrument display provides speed, engine rpm, fuel level and gear position simply, with warning lights arrayed across the top. Full LED lighting – including indicators – adds a premium feel and contributes to mass centralization. The headlight uses a dual bar light signature, upper for low beam and lower for high beam and the taillight is the thinnest ever mounted on a Honda motorcycle. The 10.1-litre fuel tank is hidden underneath an angular cover and shrouds and houses an aircraft-style filler cap. With a fuel economy of 28km per litre, the CB250R could cover approximately 286 km* with a full tank of fuel.

*Actual consumption depending on overall rider height/weight and throttle control. Our test was conducted based on cruising speeds of between 90km and 126 km/h

The TFT LCD Speedometer of the CB300R is easy to read in bright daylight as well as night time

Representing a major stepping-stone for any young or new rider, the CB250R offers the novice rider an impressive performance and handling thanks to its smooth power delivery engine combined with its flexible but firm front/rear suspension. It’s the ideal machine for the newer riders to develop their riding skills and enjoyment, and is also a great introduction to the Honda quality and reputation for fun, easy-to-use motorcycles. Since it is a fun motorcycle to ride plus a joy to own, the new Honda CB250R has many of the premium features found on its larger capacity sibling, the CB1000R.

A brand new frame mixes pressed and tubular steel for a tuned rigidity balance that gives great feedback. The CB250R also features 41mm inverted front forks with radial-mount 4-piston caliper and a single, hub-less floating front disc with IMU-based ABS. Other notable features usually found on much larger machines such as the tapered rubber-mounted aluminum handlebar, LCD instrument display and full LED lighting, exude quality and add to the pride of ownership for the CB250R.

The combined ABS system is equipped with a three-pot caliper in front, front/rear wheel speed sensors that detect the condition of the vehicle, and an ABS modulator with a built-in ECU. The ECU processes information from wheel speed sensors and controls the feed of hydraulic pressure to the caliper. Advanced braking performance was achieved in step with maneuverability by placing heavy items such as ABS modulator near the center of gravity of vehicle body. The combined brake system is designed to assist braking operation. The basics of braking concurrently operating the hand brake (front wheel) and the foot brake (rear wheel) according to the circumstances should not change. ABS is not designed to shorten braking distance, but assist braking operation. Therefore, just like with vehicles without ABS, it is necessary to follow save riding practices such as decelerating sufficiently before cornering. The system does not control reckless driving.

When it comes to color options on the 2019 CB250R, you have two options to choose from – Matte Gray Metallic (as with the test unit) and Chromosphere Red. The 2018 Honda CB250R is being retailed at an affordable price of RM23,999, and carries with it a 2-year or 20,000km warranty (whichever comes first).

Posted by Philip Chong

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